Monday, February 27, 2017

While Out Driving

We were in the car a lot over the weekend. Basketball, bowling and an International Food Festival. The mister was at the wheel which gave me a lot of time for random observations. Of course he observes during the ride, too, or perhaps it’s just mind wandering. In either case that truly only adds to our excitement and sense of adventure.

“Hon,” I whisper. “You’re heading for a guardrail.” I whisper because I don’t want to alarm him. He tends to over correct and if we’re next to a semi – well – you can imagine.

But other than those few rare and terrifying moments there’s lots going on as we whiz down the highway. Like the pine trees. We had to use the Snarly to get to the food festival at Albany Academy. I call the web of overpasses, big green signs, off ramps and bridges the Snarly. I do lots of “whispering” when we’re on it. So we’re heading for an off ramp and as the road dipped slightly there appeared a patch of rough ground on my right out of which three pine trees were growing. Kind of dusty and windswept looking and reaching plaintively for the sun. I looked quick as we sped by and I think I saw a small sign in their midst saying “Help!” in pine script. Maybe not. But there may be some kind of movement afoot and you heard about it here first.

The next day we took the long road home from granddaughter’s bowling tournament. Lovely ride. Lots of open fields, stone walls and balloons. Say what now? Yup. Right there stuck in the overhead wires. There were four of them all bouncy and giggling with helium and tangled string. Two were red, one silver, and one white (I think. It was kind of hiding). They didn’t’ t look like birthday balloons – more like the ones you see for an open house. Probably the white one was hiding because the price of the house was on it. 350K. For that dump? That’s what the balloon was thinking, not me. No wonder the bunch of them cut loose and headed for the high wires. Balloons can be so judgmental. 

The last thing I noticed was the lack of snow. A week ago Sunday we had a near blizzard and them Wham! Impossible degree weather attacking our white quilt all over the place. But March is just around the corner after all, and someone must have told the sun. Early spring? Hmmmm. You never know around here.   

Dining room Still. Not. Done. That’s what happens when you’re in the car all weekend. But how else would I have seen the lonesome pines, runaway balloons and brown fields yearning for warmth? I’m telling you, sometimes you just need a break. Right?

How was your weekend?  

Image: Free Digital Photos

Monday, February 20, 2017

Blast From the Past

Crazy busy with a paint job in the dining room. It’s taking forever but we’re hoping it will be a masterpiece. So . . . that means I haven’t had a lot of writing time. But we have been taking time out for grand kids and this repeat exemplifies what can happen at a soccer game. Off to the paint brush I go and leave you with this . . .

It must be tough, I thought, to sit on the sidelines and watch your two older brothers sparring on the soccer field. Out there with their buds defending the reputation of the Crane team. Dad and Poppy are on the sidelines making sure you don’t get into trouble. But then there was . . . the monkey.

Julius had come along to keep him company and I could tell it was a love match. From the second step on the three tiered bleachers Julius got flung again and again. Soccer game? What soccer game? When you’re not yet two it’s hard to imagine anything more fun than monkey flinging. And it never got old. Over and over the beloved stuffed animal took to the air.

As I sat on the third step I was peeped at with scrunchy little eyes and his grin was impossibly cute. “Go get him,” I whispered. And he would. Julius was rescued from the narrow bit of Astroturf that dad had allowed as a play area. Then it was back to the second step and off Julius would go. Whee . . . “Oh, no.” That’s what he said each time. Then he’d look at me and wait.

It was hard for me to give the soccer game my full attention with this little boy and his monkey for a distraction. He was being so good and entertaining himself superbly. I was enchanted. It made me realize how much time had passed since Sam was that small. Now Sam is Number 8 on a rocking soccer team that won both of it’s games last night. A boy taking the direct route to manhood. I sighed inside – a deep grandma sigh.

Towards the end of the game little Ryan must have realized there was a need for his input. His brother was being called upon to “Shoot!” and needed to hear “Go!” from the sidelines. Guess who yelled that out? With his head back and a little hop at the end. Doing his part in the clinches. Go team!

And here in a nutshell is what I know about men. Little boys, not yet two, grandsons out on the field, dads pacing as the soccer ball flies, and grandpas beaming with pride. This is what unites them, I think, more than anything. This contest. This mission to win. This common love through the generations of all things sporting. It satisfies a deep need, one that’s sometimes hard for members of the fair sex to understand. But it’s a universal intense form of bonding that I’ve observed for decades and I have to say . . .

I completely approve.

Image: sattva                              Free Digital Photos

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Peek at Book # 3

It’s Monday, the Patriots pulled it off, the sun is out and things are okay here. I thought  you might enjoy another excerpt from my latest Minnie Markwood Mystery, The White Pizza Caper.
In it Minnie has just taken a seat in the theater where she’s doing a head count for Chapel Marketing. As the movie begins she hears, for the first time, the voice of Meathead Mulovich, a Russian mobster who is soooo not a nice guy. And he’s in the seat right behind her. Yikes!

     I munched on my no butter, lightly salted popcorn, and took a few deep breaths. There were five trailers all together. Most people call them previews or coming attractions, but in the industry they’re still called trailers as they were long ago when they ‘trailed’ the main feature. Trouble was most people began to leave before the trailers were over. Now we’re stuck with them up front, and they are a must watch if you want to see the feature.
     By the time the movie started I was nearly done with my popcorn, down to the half popped kernels. I was rudely jolted from my bottom of the bucket dig when the back of my seat was kneed by someone taking the seat next to pizza guy. The man began to whisper in Russian. I had never heard Meathead Mulovich’s voice, but I had the chilling thought that this might be him.
     Then he said, “I will do English. Let girls enjoy movie.”
     I was afraid to move a muscle. This was even better than I’d hoped. Now I wouldn’t have to hang out in Bianco Pizza all night. I only wished I had a small tape recorder with me. To stealth and coolness I now had to add ‘mind like a steel trap’.   
    “Evelina is well?” Meathead asked with a bit too much nonchalance.
    “I had money. It was delivered at wrong table. I will get it.” Pizza guy’s voice shook with emotion and fear. But he hadn’t answered the question.
     “My American friend is disappointed with your sister. He is rich and offers much.”
     “He is very big crap!” Pizza guy hissed vehemently.
      Creep, I was pretty sure he meant creep. And then, of all things, a stray popcorn kernel took a crooked path through my esophagus forcing me to sit bolt upright. I fought off the coughing fit I felt coming, but it was no good.
     “Gack.” A sharp intake of breath made it worse. “Gack, gack!” I bolted from my seat and flew past Meathead who looked up at me with black soulless eyes. Pizza guy looked like he wanted to kill the man.
     The dark theater aisle suddenly seemed the length of a football field as I staggered along, and I wondered what day I’d reach the lobby doors. A woman pushing a baby stroller was right in my path as I came through, and my toe caught on one of the stroller wheels. I went down on one knee like a mobster at confession.

PS: I hope to have this book out in 2017. Fingers crossed!